Cyrus Dugger

CJ&D: The Discriminatory Impact of “Tort Reform” on Emergency Room Patients

From the Center for Justice and Democracy:

The Discriminatory Impact of “Tort Reform” on Emergency Room Patients Restrictions on patients’ legal rights, such as caps on damages, have a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities, who are more likely to receive negligent emergency room care and therefore seek compensation and justice through the courts.

In general, racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than non-Hispanic white Americans to receive lower quality or negligent care.

1) A Harvard study found that, “there were significant differences between hospitals that serve a predominantly minority population and other hospitals. That is, blacks were more likely to be hospitalized at institutions with more AE’s [adverse events] and higher rates of negligence.”

2) In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a landmark study, entitled Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Dr. Brian Smedley, director and co-editor of the report, said, “The health care playing field is not level … for minorities, many populations of color who, on average, receive a lower quality and intensity of health care.”

3) Racial and ethnic minorities are uninsured more often than non-Hispanic whites, a status that can result in more frequent ER visits and negligent care.

4)The hospital location with the highest proportion of negligent adverse events (52.6 percent) is the emergency department, where people without health insurance may go for primary care.

5) Uninsured persons with traumatic injuries are less likely than those with insurance to be admitted to the hospital, receive fewer services if they are and are more likely to die.

*footnotes available in original

Cyrus Dugger: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 4:33 PM, Apr 18, 2007 in
Permalink | Email to Friend


These statements are a big missleading. If you lok at the hospitals where the majority of patients are minorities, you find that they are generally in urban areas and overwhelmed with uninsured patients who do not recieve healthcare flooding the ers. The reason why the ER is the largest area of adverse events is that is where most patients present.

Tort reform has nothing to do with this. The only thing tort reform does is make attorne not want to take their cases as they don't pay enough. Interestingly, the hospitals, doctors and nurses take care of these patients and most of the time do not get paid. In fact they have to pay due to high insurance and lost income from seeing other patients.

Perhaps if there was EMTALA law for attorneys, these "victims" could get help.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 7:36 AM